Fallout 3

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "Listen kiddo, I know you don't like it when daddy leaves you alone, but you need to take care of yourself for a while."


    The third game in the popular Fallout series. Developed by Bethesda Studios, rather than Black Isle, and set in the D.C. area rather than the West Coast. It incorporates FPS elements into the RPG structure for the first time in the main series.

    Vault 101 is an okay place to live. It's an underground paradise with many technological wonders. It saved humanity from the War two centuries ago has been home to everyone within it for generations. Your life is okay, too. Your father is both head doctor and a nice guy, and your mother... Well, your mother was probably nice too, before she died. You grew up more or less normally, despite the antics of resident bully Butch DeLoria, greaser and all-around Jerkass. Your best friend Amata is a nice girl too, even though her father the Overseer is a bit obsessive. Yes, things are fine in Vault 101, and there's no reason they wouldn't be, since the Wasteland is far behind the thick Vault door, if it even exists.

    It is here you were born, and it is here you will die, because in Vault 101, no one ever enters, and no one ever leaves.

    Indeed, all things considered, Vault 101 is an okay place to live, and nothing will ever change that. Then, sometime after you turn 19, you wake up to find Amata nervously telling you that your father has escaped the Vault, the Overseer has locked everything down, and he's sent security officers to kill you. She hands you a gun and, before you know it, you're discovering that Vault 101 is not as wonderful as you had been led to believe; all the technology is barely working, there are gigantic mutated cockroaches infesting many areas, and the Overseer is a tyrannical maniac who will stop at nothing to keep the Vault closed forever.

    Soon you have followed in your father's footsteps and escaped the Vault as security guards pepper the closing Vault door with bullets. As you climb out of the dingy tunnel, you find yourself staring into the radioactive remains of Washington D.C., the Capital Wasteland. With only one link to your old life remaining, you set out with one goal in mind: to find your father, and heaven and hell help whoever stands in your way.

    Tropes used in Fallout 3 include:

    Tropes 0-C

    • 100% Heroism Rating: Having the best karma rating means that you'll occasionally have people run up to you while you're in Megaton and give you supplies. And if you have very evil karma, slavers in Paradise Falls will also occasionally run up and give you supplies.
      • Go to either extreme, and you'll have either ultra-evil mercenaries (if you are good) or vigilante "lawmen" (if you are evil) attack you as random encounters. Also, one perk gives you a substantial bonus to your Speech skill, provided that you maintain a Neutral karma level. To put this in perspective, you can earn enough Karma points to be "Good" or "Evil" before you leave the tutorial level.
    • 0% Approval Rating: Despite his soothing, charismatic voice and a virtual monopoly on airtime in Post-nuclear holocaust America, President Eden is widely considered a joke by the people of the Wasteland. In fact many people assume he's either an old pre-war broadcast playing on a loop, or a crazy guy broadcasting from a bunker somewhere. However, when the Enclave makes their appearance on the scene after a 35 year absence, he quickly reaches Not So Harmless status.
    • Abandoned Laboratory: Nearly all of the Vaults you encounter are the unfortunate aftermaths of one of Vault-Tec's experiments that worked more or less as they were intended to.
    • Abnormal Ammo: Many of the custom weapons, and some other weapons, use unusual ammunition, but the Rock-It Launcher takes this trope and runs with it (behind the barn for a roll in the hay, then makes it breakfast in the morning), as it fires anything from tin cans to human skulls to teddy bears and after one of the DLCs you will be able to shoot a piece of your own brain.
    • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Downtown D.C. is a honeycomb of subway, maintenance and sewer tunnels connecting to each other and the surface, and is chock full of ghouls, raiders, radroaches and more. It's quite easy to get lost down here if you don't watch your Pip Boy map, and if you're actively looking for another location when you get into them, good luck.
    • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: Even with the relatively advanced technology of the pre-war era, the various office buildings, sewers and underground bunkers would have long had the generators powering their lights, turrets, guard robots and computers run out of power and/or break down. Of course, this would mean the Science skill would be far less useful and the already dark subway and maintenance tunnels of DC would be even darker.
    • Action Bomb: A Broken Steel endgame perk, Nuclear Anomaly, turns you into one, sort of. When you get down to very low health, you cause a nuclear explosion, obliterating nearby enemies and healing yourself.
    • Affably Evil: US President Eden is quite charismatic, polite, and has a very calming, gentle voice (read: Malcolm McDowell). He's also a genocidal supercomputer.
    • All Crimes Are Equal: No matter if you murder somebody or steal a bottle of Nuka-Cola, any crime you commit in this world is punishable by death.
    • All There in the Manual: Quite a bit of background information for the Capital Wasteland is included in the Fallout 3 Official Game Guide.
    • Always Over the Shoulder: When in third person.
    • Always Save the Girl: During "Escape!", the Lone Wanderer has several chances to do this with Amata. They can refuse the pistol she offers so that she can use it to protect herself, tell her father that if he lays anything hand on her again, he will regret it, kill guards who attempt to attack her in the Vault Entrance, and finally offer to take her with you into the Wasteland.
      • Subverted since no matter what you do, she will refuse to leave the Vault. And won't let you stay. Even on the return trip later in the game.
    • Amusing Injuries: It is possible to get blown across town with a broken leg and a concussion if you stand in the right place when a nuclear-powered car goes up.
    • Anal Probing: The Mothership Zeta DLC sees the Player Character abducted on board a spaceship and probed.
    • An Axe to Grind: The Auto-Axe and Variants in The Pitt and the regular Axe in Point Lookout.
    • An Interior Designer Is You: You can purchase decoration themes for your house as well as useful upgrades such as a workbench, lab table and a soda machine (it makes your soda cold, improving its HP restoration ability). And any clutter (old books, dinner plates, teddy bears, etc) you can pick up around the game world can be placed in your house. Trying to do the last thing can cause much frustration thanks to a rather wonky physics engine.

    Singer: And when they landed on Plymouth Rock / Plymouth Rock had landed on them!

    • Another Man's Terror: One vault in Fallout 3 will put the PC through a lot of this.
    • Anti-Mutiny: The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel decided to work to eradicate the East Coast variant of Super Mutants, instead of solely pursuing technology. The West Coast (the leaders) allowed this, but subsequently refused them supplies, back-up, or other tech, and a group of Brotherhood members left to form the Outcasts, which stay true to the original BoS. They're not evil, just rude, elitist jerks.
    • Apocalypse How: Class 1 and class 2, depending on the area. Events in the story lead to the possibility of a class 5.
    • Apocalyptic Log: The computer entries of vault residents. Also the holotapes found in Lamplight Caverns of a schoolteacher and her students trapped in a cave after the bombs fell, and after she is gone, the tapes of the first kid elected mayor of Little Lamplight. Nancy Croydon's logs outside Germantown Police HQ.
    • Arbitrary Maximum Range: And it's fairly short by real life standards. Can be very annoying to sniper-type players who could easily make the shot in certain games, never mind what an actual sniper could pull off.
    • Arc Words and Arc Number: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." -Revelation 21:6.
    • Arrow Cam: Used for some bullets fired in VATS.
    • Artificial Stupidity: The "Head of State" NPCs' route between the Temple of the Union and the Lincoln Memorial is long, full of double-backs and treks through Absurdly Spacious Sewers and subway tunnels.
    • Awesome but Impractical: The Experimental MIRV, which fires eight mini-nukes at once and will kill anything including a Super Mutant Behemoth. The problem is that mini-nukes are extremely rare, only being sold one or two at a time by one or two merchants, and unless there's a good fifty feet between the impact point(s) and you, you're likely to blow yourself up firing it.
      • Rippers deal crazy amounts of damage outside of VATS, but are uncommon and their properties cause them to break down incredibly fast. Auto Axes from The Pitt DLC share these characteristics, but are heavier with more power.
      • The Big Guns degrade fast, use lots of ammo (or have single-shot projectiles that are rare/expensive), and getting duplicates for spare parts is much harder than most weapons.
      • The giant robot Liberty Prime is as awesome as giant robots go: from his instant-kill eye beams to the nuclear bombs he chucks like footballs, he's a force to be reckoned with... if only they didn't have so much trouble powering the whole thing.
      • The Nuclear Anomaly Perk allows you to set off a small nuclear explosion, killing anyone unfortunate enough to be standing to close to you, once your health drops below a certain point. Problem is that at higher difficulty levels, you take too much damage from enemy attacks to go off before you die.
      • The Prototype Medic Power Armor. Sure, it boosts a cool Mister Gutsy-esque voice once you wear it, and does alert you when an enemy is near, but it's a double-edged sword when it comes to trying to be stealthy, because of said voice giving away your position when that happens. The enemy will know where you are even if you equip a Stealth Boy after that, and will promptly attack you. Also, once your health is down to about less than 50%, it will automatically administer Med-X to boost your damage resistance assuming you have some in your inventory. It really isn't that useful a feature in combat when you already some perks that boost your DR in combat. On the plus side, since it's power armor, at least you have some DR to begin with, so it isn't too impractical.
    • Awesome McCoolname: Herbert 'Daring' Dashwood.
    • Awesome Yet Practical: Dressing up as 'Slaver-hunting Zombie Lincoln' actually isn't that gimped a build.
      • The Tesla Cannon. It can only fire one shot at a time, but two shots will kill damn near anything. Even better, the ammo is plentiful. It also has massive range, takes out Vertibirds in one shot and the shots will go exactly where you point them.
      • Shishkebab, a craftable sword made of a lawnmower blade and a gas tank. Easy to find parts for, amongst the best weapons in the game with the right perks.
      • Unarmed weapons. When used in VATS with the Paralyzing Palm perk, every strike has the potential to leave a target completely defenseless for 30 seconds. Some Unarmed weapons can allow for as many as eight strikes in one round of VATS, then there's the Deathclaw Gauntlet which ignores enemy defense...
      • Ranger Battle Armor. DR of 39 (one lower than standard power armor, 11 lower than the best), easily repairable due to its common armor typing, and excellent stat boosts for a Small Guns-focused character.
      • The alien ray gun. It can kill Deathclaws with a single headshot if you're good enough with energy weapons - or two shots otherwise.
      • A3-21's Plasma Rifle. High damage, high HP so it won't degrade, ammo isn't that hard to find. The only catch is that other Plasma Rifles to repair it are uncommon until you start fighting the Enclave.
      • The Metal Blaster from The Pitt expansion. Essentially a laser shotgun, it does very high damage and has very common ammo. The only catches are its weakness at long range and low HP, but basic laser rifles are so common that it's easily repaired so the HP is excusable.
        • Likewise, the Perforator, also from the The Pitt DLC. While individually, it does less damage than a standard assault rifle, it, like its stock version, the Infiltrator, always comes with a scope and silencer, does slightly more damage than its stock version and uses only two rounds in VATS, though it has a slightly lower rate of fire. Also, it can be repaired by regular assault rifles, which are relatively abundant in the Capital Wasteland.
      • The Xuanlong Assault Rifle also qualifies. It not only carries 12 more rounds than its stock version, but deals more damage. Combined with its abundant ammunition and the relative abundance of Chinese Assault Rifles later in the game, this makes it one of the top-tier weapons for players.
      • The Gauss Rifle, pending you get it out of the Operation: Anchorage simulation using a very specific and kinda tricky glitch.
    • Badass Bystander: It is quite surprising how many NPCs will run in and start attacking you if you provoke them, even picking up weapons lying around to gun you down. If you're on an Escort Mission, your escort may pick up the rifle of an enemy you just shot and help you take out the rest. If there's an NPC you want to survive, you can also reverse-pickpocket better armor and weapons onto them and they will use them, even if it's power armor and a plasma rifle.
    • Base on Wheels: The Enclave's massive Mobile Base in the climax of the Broken Steel expansion.
    • Beam Spam: There are Gatling Lasers in the game, as apparently the brother of More Dakka would not be left out.
    • The Beast Master: The Animal Friend perk makes you this. Even the nearby Yao Guai will help you against those pesky mutants and mercenaries.
    • Because You Were Nice to Me: Following the Good Karma path tends to pay off.
      • Being nice to Gob in Megaton will net you a 10% discount from him. He's even willing to risk pissing off Moriarty.
      • Releasing Fawkes from confinement pays huge dividends. One-Man Army-type benefits.
    • Behind the Black: Despite the Warp Whistle effectively being a "skip journey" option rather than a true teleport, half the time you'll appear at your destination standing bang in the middle of a mercenary squad out for your blood.
    • Big Brother Is Watching: Vault-Tec attempted to give this trope a positive spin with their cheery advertising campaign (heard in-game at the Museum of Technology).

    "Concerned about security? Our eye-on-you camera allows the Overseer to watch your every move. You'll never be alone again!"

      • Three Dog can seem remarkably well-informed for a man who so rarely leaves his rooms.
    • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Ohhh, boy. Let's see, Radroaches, Bloatflies, Radscorpions, Fire Ants...
    • Big Damn Heroes: The player can do this for Reilly's Rangers, who are pinned down by Super Mutants in the Statesman Hotel.
    • Bigger Stick: The Brotherhood employs Liberty Prime as their bigger stick against the more numerous and technologically advanced Enclave. Then the Enclave brings out their bigger stick, their missile satellite.
    • Bilingual Bonus: You don't have the in-game translator to help you to figure out anything Toshiro Kago in Mothership Zeta is saying, unless you understand Edo period Japanese. Even then, you can pretty much guess what he's saying and you will more than likely be correct. It's mostly variations upon "Where am I?", "Who are you?", and "Where is my sword?"
    • Bishonen Line: The mirelurks are mutated crabs and look crustacean with shells and pincers. Mirelurk kings however are implied to be mutated from turtles, and have humanoid heads, fingers and toes with no shells.
    • Bi the Way: Possible for female player characters who can flirt with Bittercup, hire Nova and show attraction towards Amata. Possibly with Bittercup, who will flirt with a female character, though other characters claim that she has a reputation for promiscuity.
    • Black and Grey Morality: Many of the sidequests, although the Karma Meter will often have its own ideas about Good and Evil.
      • Professor Calvert is a Card-Carrying Villain who has a bevy of mindless cultists at his disposal and should you choose to serve him, tries to kill you while Desmond is simply someone from before the Great War who has scores to settle. He's also a Jerkass master of the Cluster F-Bomb, so pick your poison.
    • Black and White Morality: As far as the overarching Struggle Between Good And Evil goes, the factions line up pretty neatly. The Enclave are firmly on the "Evil" side aside from their Utopia Justifies the Means intentions, and the East Coast Brotherhood are pretty much totally good guys aside from being Fantastic Racists. Meanwhile the vast majority of the Super Mutants and Raiders are Chaotic Evil. Whatever your Karma is, you still have to fight for the Brotherhood against the Enclave and Super Mutants to get anything done.
    • Black Widow: The name of a perk, that enables a Female PC to deal more damage to men, and also opens a lot of dialogue options while talking to them. It also has a Spear Counterpart for male PC's called "Ladykiller" that has the same effect for women.
    • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Can be done by aiming at the opponent's weapon, in VATS or manually, though it will damage the weapon and you'll need to repair it if you plan on picking it up to use after killing the enemy. Alternately you can shoot the arm being used to hold the weapon, and the enemy will drop it.
    • Blinding Camera Flash: Your character being blinded by one on his birthdays as a child is used to transition to the next point of your character's childhood/the tutorial.
    • Boom! Headshot!: Can go either way depending on the damage you deal. If you have Bloody Mess perk, then most of the time you get something else entirely.
    • Booze-Based Buff: Alcohol boosts charisma and strength at a cost to intelligence, and like all chems there is a risk of getting addicted. The Party Boy/Party Girl perk in Broken Steel eliminates the withdrawal effects though.
    • Boring but Practical: The hunting rifle (and especially its unique incarnation, Ol' Painless). Bolt action, ugly as sin. Will kill what you need dead, spare parts and ammo are staggeringly abundant. Until you get into the game's top-tier items it remains a workhorse gun for most encounters, and some players stand by Ol' Painless as one of the best guns in the game.
    • Broken Aesop: The Pitt DLC was touted for its Gray and Gray Morality. The resolution involves kidnapping a newborn baby from her parents to facilitate the success of Wernher and the slaves, or leaving her so her Well-Intentioned Extremist parents can develop a cure for the radiation sickness specific to the Pitt. Both Wernher and Ashur have Misaimed Fandom, at times.
      • In the main game, we have Ronald Laren, who at worst is a Chivalrous Pervert who is at least trying to woo the clueless Sierra Petrovita into... erm... "opening up" instead of just making like a savage raider and raping her. He even will readily gun down raiders who threaten the little shanties in which they live. Helping him along with his quest to get in Sierra's pants is somehow karmically evil. On the other side, we have Angela Staley and Diego. Angela wants to woo the religiously chaste Diego who otherwise still has a liking to her. Finding some ant queen pheromones for Sierra to cause Diego's sexual instinct to overwhelm his inhibitions in an act that borders on Double Standard Rape (Female on Male) is somehow karmically good.
      • If you can find it, the Xuanlong Assault Rifle. A unique Chinese Assault Rifle, with an expanded magazine and jacked up stats. More than powerful enough to buzzsaw Raiders and Mutants apart.
      • The Silenced 10mm Pistol. Easily repairable, plentiful ammo, and obtainable early on, if you need someone dead quickly and quietly without alerting every hostile in range during the early parts of the game, this comes in very handy.
    • Brain In a Jar: Professor Calvert in Point Lookout. Also, the heads of a certain kind of robot, the Robobrain, appears to be nothing more than a brain in a dome full of liquid.
    • Broken Pedestal: The Enclave, if you play the previous Fallout games, you should know this already. It certainly comes as a surprise to Nathan, the Enclave-loving citizen of Megaton.
    • Bucket Helmet: The Mechanist.
    • Bullet Time: VATS, which for all intents and purposes causes the game to lean a bit closer to be a turn-based RPG.
    • Bully Hunter: You have the option to exact revenge against Butch DeLoria should you choose.
    • But Thou Must!: The original ending. Fixed with the Broken Steel DLC.
    • Call a Smeerp a Rabbit: These ain't your daddy's Fire Ants...
    • Calling Your Attacks: Happens once early in The Adventures of Herbert 'Daring' Dashwood, when Herbert and Argyle need to get past a guard:

    Argyle: Hey, buddy, got a light?
    Guard: What?
    Argyle: LOTUS KICK!
    Guard: Aieee!

    • Canon Shadow: You can take Charon into Tenpenny Tower or Fawkes into the Citadel, and no-one so much as remarks on it, despite other members of their respective races having shoot-on-sight status. New Vegas dragged your companions closer into the limelight with companion sidequests.
    • Captain Obvious: Charon, Fawkes and RL-3 in Take It Back! suddenly remember they're rad-immune if you have Broken Steel.
    • Cartography Sidequest: Given by Reilly; you'll get caps for every location you discover since the last time you visited her.
    • Chainmail Bikini: Many of the Raider outfits on a female character, but especially the Raider Bombshell Armor from The Pitt.
    • Chainsaw Good: Rippers.
    • Chekhov's Gun: Once you first behold Liberty Prime, you know that he's going to be kicking some ass by the end of the game.
      • "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." -[[The Bible|Revelation 21:6]}. That is to say, '216' is the code to activate the purifier at the end of the main story arc.
    • Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: Known simply as "Sugar Bombs". The cereal pieces are even shaped like miniature nukes.
    • Christianity Is Catholic: The only active church in the Capitol Wasteland is St. Monica's, a fictitious (Well, the St. Monica in the game, anyway. As far as I know, the real St. Monica, wasn't sold into slavery or born the child of ghouls or anything.) saint with a heavily Catholic-themed backstory. The priest preaches about Purgatory and will not have his acolyte, Diego, sleep with or marry the woman he loves and be a priest at the same time.
      • Your Mr. Handy robot butler Wadsworth/Godfrey can also tell this joke: "Photons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic."
    • Clueless Aesop: The Tenpenny Towers quest take on racism. Sure, those Tenpenny Tower inhabitants are scum for refusing entry to Roy, a murderous madman who threatens to kill them. On the other hand, this might just be a slightly heavy-handed message to players who prefer a non-violent solution to quests that are probably better served by violence.
    • Cluster F-Bomb: Both in NPC dialogs as well as Enemy Chatter.
      • In particular, there are Mayor MacCready of Little Lamplight (particularly striking since he's eleven at most) and Desmond Lockheart from Point Lookout. Neither of them seem capable of forming a sentence without swearing.
    • Collection Sidequest: Finding all of the Vault-Tec Bobbleheads in the Capital Wasteland; collecting all 100 steel ingots in The Pitt; finding thirty Nuka-Cola Quantum for The Nuka-Cola Challenge.
    • Color Wash: The entire game is overlaid with a very noticeable green color filter, which can be disabled via modding.
    • Comically Missing the Point: Sierra Petrovita in Girdershade is blissfully clueless that her self-appointed protector Ronald Laren is only sticking around in the hopes of having sex with her. Even when he's obviously (to the player) hitting on her.
    • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Certain weapons have a special effect of dealing additional damage per hit that ignores damage resistance. The catch? This only activates when an enemy NPC is using it against you.
    • Continuity Nod: At the end of the Trouble On the Homefront quest, Amata's informing you that you must leave the vault forever now intentionally mirrors the ending of the first Fallout.
    • Cool Plane: The Enclave's Vertibirds.
    • Cool Shades: Lucky Shades.
    • Cool Versus Awesome: Mothership Zeta. A samurai, a cowboy, a wastelander, a soldier two centuries out of place, a Plucky Girl and you versus hundreds of little green aliens.
    • Cool, Clear Water: Averted. All water 'in the wild' is radioactive, the only clean water comes out of purifiers. Particularly jarring in Oasis, an Arcadia which otherwise looks like it was pulled straight out of Oblivion.
    • Crap Saccharine World: Tranquility Lane, a computer simulation in Vault 112, where a little girl (who's actually Dr. Braun) forces you to perform a series of increasingly evil acts before letting you leave with your father.
    • Crapsack World: The entire Fallout series takes place after a nuclear war between America and China. Which actually makes the world better in a lot of ways, oddly enough—the prewar world was pretty Crapsack-y to begin with if the little tidbits of history you can find are any indication.
      • Unlike Nevada in the sequel game Fallout: New Vegas, the Capital Wasteland is almost completely uncivilized. There are a few isolated settlements, the largest being housed in a derelict aircraft carrier. The rest are a few tiny shanty towns like Megaton, and Tenpenny tower which is a holdout for a few rich cowards. The rest of the area is populated by opportunistic raiders, hostile animal life and super mutants. Unlike New Vegas and the NCR, there is no agriculture to speak of, and absolutely no manufacturing of any kind. Any tools and weaponry to be found are from scavenged ruins.
    • Creepy Child: Betty.
    • Creepy Cleanliness: Vault 112. There's a good reason for that.
    • Cruel and Unusual Death: See Gorn and Ludicrous Gibs below.
    • Curb Stomp Battle: The Take It Back! quest.
    • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: There's some very interesting people wandering the wasteland with fantastic skills that could be used for the betterment of humanity. Take The Mechanist, able to build and maintain a small army of combat-ready robots, or the Surgeon, a random Mad Scientist implied to be able to control ghouls and super mutants via computer chip implants.

    Tropes D-G

    • Dark-Skinned Redhead: You can set your race to Hispanic or Afro-American and get a head of blood crimson hair through the customization screen.
    • Death From Above: The Highwater Trousers Easter Egg, and how the Enclave destroy Liberty Prime in the Broken Steel expansion.
    • Defector From Decadence: Old Man Harris used to be one of the lunatics in Andale until he had a Heel Realization and realized just how batshit insane his family had become and how horribly fucked up what they practiced really was. In fact, if you kill them all he not only thanks you for what you did, but he also take in their children and promises to teach them how to be something other than practitioners of Villainous Incest and being prone to I'm a Humanitarian.
    • Did Not Do the Research: Moria Brown's book can be this in-universe, if you decide to be a jerk and feed her misinformation. As Three-Dog says for the low-quality version, "It'll get you killed faster than you can say 'Hug a deathclaw.'" However the Pip-Boy notes for it do state that it's a pretty good beginners guide, when it's not wildly inaccurate.
      • The same book becomes a Continuity Nod in Fallout: New Vegas, where it becomes the skill book for the new Survival skill. Which would seem to indicate that the canonical Lone Wanderer did the job properly.
    • Diegetic Interface: The Pip-Boy 3000! But not the HP/AP gauges, compass, or ammo counters that form the in-game HUD.
    • Dirt Forcefield: Averted, everyone from raiders to the Tenpenny residents are covered in grime and are all cases of Unkempt Beauty.
    • Dirty Communists: How Liberty Prime views whatever it fights. Ironically, he continues to do so even when fighting against the staunchly anti-Communist Enclave, on behalf of the proto-communist Brotherhood of Steel.
      • The Mr. Gutsy robots do the same.
    • Disaster Democracy: The Republic of Dave. There's even a quest titled Election Day that lets you manipulate the election result.
    • Disc One Final Boss: The (most likely) first Behemoth you come across, just outside of Galaxy News Radio.
    • Disc One Nuke: There are several available within the first few hours of gameplay.
      • The Replicated Man's plasma rifle can be obtained very early in the game if you know where to look for it; getting it doesn't involve combat or dungeon exploration, and it is one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
      • On your way to GNR studios, quite early in the game if you follow the main quests, you'll find a dead Brotherhood of Steel member and can loot his Power Armor. Unfortunately in this game, you need special training to wear it and so it can't be used yet. However, your henchmen suffer no such drawback and can slip it on right away. You can then repair the suit with any armor the Behemoth kills shortly after, and your henchman will be pretty much invincible until the Enclave shows up. On top of that, that same corpse is also carrying a Fat Man, and the optional objective tells you to pick it up so you can use it against said Behemoth, giving you a literal Disc One Nuke.
      • The best armor in the game can be accessed quite early with the Operation: Anchorage DLC. Completing the DLC near the start of the game will open access to the Winterized T-51b Power Armor. It requires Power Armor Training but the simulation before unlocks the ability after you complete it. In total, the helmet and the armor, collectively offers 55 damage resistance (only standard Brotherhood of Steel Power Armor or special Enclave Power Armor matches it), +33 radiation resistance, and +1 charisma. Both parts of the suit also have the highest item hit points in the game (Helmet: 999,100/100 hit points and Armor:9,992,000/100 hit points) effectively meaning they will never break and require repair or lose any damage protection points.
    • Disney Death: With the Broken Steel DLC, the original sacrifice at the end of the game becomes a two week coma, both for the PC and Sentinel Lyons (unless Lyons, even though more or less better than you, is sent in which means death).
    • Disproportionate Retribution:
      • Death is the only punishment for almost any crime in the wasteland. From murder to lockpicking a crate of vendor goods to stealing a bottle of Nuka-Cola, everyone in the vicinity will open fire. And God help you if you try to open the door to GNR studios before the all-clear is sounded. The only crime people don't attack you on-sight for is pickpocketing: they give you a warning, then they attack you.
      • Oddly, this carries over to the pre-war too. There are many security robots you can find in old factories and other buildings, and they will often ask for an ID card or some other miscellaneous item you could find nearby to show them you're authorized to be there. Otherwise they consider it trespassing, give you one warning to leave, then start the laser fire.
        • Specifically, activating any security robot you find in a Metro station will cause it to use lethal force on anybody in the station without a ticket.
      • Sonora Cruz, head of the Regulators, sums it up pretty well: "In the Wasteland, there's only one brand of justice: the gun."
    • Doomed Hometown: Vault 101.
    • Downloadable Content: There were five DLC'S released for Fallout 3: Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout and Mothership Zeta.
    • Drop the Hammer: Quite a lot can be found, also one of the favorite melee weapons for super mutants. They go from hand-hammers that are classed as Vendor Trash, to wieldable sledgehammers, up to the mighty Super-Sledge.
    • Egopolis: The Republic of Dave, formerly the Kingdom of Tom, and potentially later Bobland or Bobtopia.
    • Eldritch Location: The Dunwich Building. You have hallucinations showing you how the place used to look in prewar times, doors open and shut randomly, and some items move about at their own accord. And then there's the Obelisk, with its highly radioactive nature, and ghostly whispers emanating from it. And the kicker? You enter the building from the north... but once inside, the door you just came in through is at the southern end.
      • Considering the name...
      • It's also later involved in disposing of a "holy" book with decidedly Lovecraftian elements.
    • Elephant in the Living Room: Hilariously averted with Fawkes. No one cares you have a Super Mutant trailing you.
      • Fawkes will often lampshade this while you're traveling.

    "I'm amazed people trust you enough not to attack me!"

    • Enemy Chatter: Most humanoid and robot enemies taunt you if they detect your presence. This is quite stupid on their part since it helps you locating where and who or what they are.
    • Energy Weapons: They are generally the most powerful ranged weapons apart from the biggest of big guns and unique small guns.
    • Every Bullet Is a Tracer
    • Every Car Is a Pinto: With mushroom clouds, thanks to their fusion engines.
    • Everything's Worse With Yoa Guai: Giant mutated black bears that move as fast as Deathclaws.
      • Averted and then subverted with the Animal Lover perk, which stops most non-insectoid animals - including the Yao Guai - from acting hostile toward you. With two points into the skill, the same animals will come to your aid in battle, as long as you aren't fighting one of the animals affected by the perk.
    • Evil Former Friend: Crowley was a friend of other people, but after being trapped and left behind, got a brooding anger against his former companions. He asks the wanderer to assassinate them and give him their keys - so that he can claim something from Fort Constantine.
    • Evil Is Petty: Trying to play as an evil character can result in this at times. Many of the quests in the game are heavily skewed toward the Good end of the scale, especially if you want the best rewards available. Even if you make it clear to the NPCs that you're a selfish, greedy, money-grubbing bastard who's only doing it for the rewards, you still get Good Karma at the end. The result is a lot of random acts of theft and/or violence to offset this.
    • Evil Versus Evil: Crowley and Tenpenny.
      • Alternately, Roy Phillips and Tenpenny. Though it just seems like Black and Gray Morality at first glance.
      • Talon Company vs the Super Mutants. The two factions can often be found engaged in turf wars over the downtown ruins.
    • Exclusively Evil: All the raiders are homicidally insane, drug-crazed loonies who live in shelters with human remains used as decoration. Text logs and messages suggest them to be capable of reasoning, but gameplay-wise all they ever do is attack anything and everything regardless of consequences.
    • Expansion Pack: Several, including one that changes a much-reviled element of the ending.
    • Explosive Leash: The Paradise Falls slave collars.
      • The Pitt Bridge (from The Pitt DLC) is an indirect example. In addition to crossing the most irradiated body of water in the game, it is mined and choked with exploding cars.
    • Exposition of Immortality: Many of the ghouls you can encounter in Underworld lived through the war and can tell you what, frequently little, they can remember of the time before. Carol was born in 2051, twenty-six years prior to the Great War. Meanwhile, some of Fawkes' dialogue implies that he was alive during the initial FEV experiments conducted in Vault 87.
    • Face Heel Turn: Defender Sibley at the end of Operation Anchorage.
    • Fandom Gank: This game's original ending got a similar Mass Effect 3 response, but Bethesda's answer dramatically improved the endgame play.
    • Fantastic Racism: According to the Enclave, their ultimate goal is to ensure Humanity's survival... too bad their definition of Humanity is Enclave and Vault-born Humans only. If you were born in the Wasteland, the Enclave considers you impure.
      • This potentially may be part of the reason why The Overseer despises the Lone Wanderer and his/her father. Also why drinking tainted Aqua Pura kills you.
      • The Enclave's primary opposition, the Brotherhood of Steel, isn't much better. Both the Anti-Mutiny and Outcast factions don't have a high opinion of Wastelanders (Vault-born or otherwise), though the former is more tolerant. If you're a Ghoul or a Super Mutant, the Brotherhood and the Enclave are going to shoot you.
      • This makes the mutual non-aggression between the Ghouls and Super Mutants stand out more, even if the reason is more practical than ideological. The Ghouls just want be left alone. The Super Mutants leave the Ghouls alone since they're terrible (or even non-viable) as mutation stock.
      • The majority of people towards the necrotized Ghouls: their appearance naturally repulses others.
      • On one minor happy note, normal racism doesn't seem to apply anymore. Even the Enclave, with its focus on genetic purity, doesn't care about the skin color of its soldiers.
    • Fantastic Slurs: Ghouls calling unmutated humans 'Smoothskins' (weirdly enough, even some who don't seem to mind humans overall still use the epithet), humans calling ghouls 'zombies', and Three Dog and the Brotherhood of Steel calling Super Mutants 'Frankensteins' and 'Uglies'. Even 'ghoul' presumably started out this way, before being reclaimed once they started forming their own societies.
    • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Capital Wasteland/Lyons Brotherhood of Steel detachment has some resemblance to early Prussia.
    • Fast Forward Mechanic: There is a "Wait" action.
    • Fate Worse Than Death:
      • Whatever happens to prisoners of the Super Mutants. In Vault 87, you can learn that most get sprayed with FEV to transform them into more Super Mutants. Or worse.
      • Everyone in Tranquility Lane if you comply with Dr. Braun's games (only one of them is aware of what is happening; the others are Brainwashed and Crazy). Dr. Braun himself if you activate the Chinese Invasion scenario (in which case everyone else dies).
    • Five-Man Band: Your Ragtag Band of Misfits in Mothership Zeta.
      • The Hero: You, obviously.
      • The Lancer: Somah, your first ally and the only one from the same timeframe as you.
      • The Big Guy: Paulson, a cowboy sheriff and general tough guy.
      • The Smart Guy: Elliot, the Combat Medic who adapts some of the alien technology you find into workable items.
      • The Chick: Sally, also a Tagalong Kid, she helps you free the others and guides the group around the ship.
      • The Sixth Ranger: Kago, a Japanese samurai, the communication barrier results in him eventually heading off on his own, only to pull a Big Damn Heroes during the final battle.
    • Flaming Sword: The Shishkebab. Also, Jingwei's Shocksword is the electric version.
    • Floorboard Failure: A couple of buildings have this as a scripted event. The Point lookout expansion has you falling though several floors and into the basement.
    • Forced Tutorial: Growing up in Vault 101. You go from toddler to kid to teen for about thirty minutes of doing nothing that can't be done quicker such as gauging your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats and Tagged skills, learning about the Karma Meter, getting your Pip-Boy, or even learning a bit about Vault life. The action only really starts when all is said and done at age 19.
    • Foreshadowing:
      • If you happen to know the geography of a certain country that gained notoriety in literature, you should know what to expect in the village of Arefu as it shares the name with a commune in Romania where stands Poenari castle, seat of Vlad III, commonly known as Dracula.
      • Another is the Dunwich Building. Just by virtue of knowing where the name comes in, you know to load up before you head in...
      • In Vault 101: "No one ever enters, and no one ever leaves."
      • After the quest "The Superhuman Gambit", the kid Derek Pacion suggest that the Wanderer can become a superhero, followed by deathclaws. In Broken Steel, the Wanderer can use Enclave controlled deathclaws against them.
      • Buy Charon's contract, and he'll part ways with his loathsome former master with a shotgun to the head. If you have bad karma and release him from the contract, he'll try the same on you.
      • Revelation 21:6 starts, "I am am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end...". The first time you hear this as at the beginning of the story (and of your life). Guess at what other point this passage becomes relevant.
    • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Mr. Burke.
    • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: The Family is a group of reformed cannibals, modeling themselves after classic vampire lore to curb their cravings for human flesh. Most of them, including their leader, are quite friendly and civil, and are Noble Demons at the very worst. You'll have the option of making a deal with them to secure blood packs so they no longer have to feed on people, and protect the settlement that was once terrified of them. You can even become one too.
    • Future Imperfect: The destruction or misplacing of almost all pre-War records, and the extremely spotty nature of schooling (for the few that get any at all) result in this trope being played straight. Only a few NPCs, such as Hannibal Hamlin or Rivet City's Abraham Washington, know any history... and even they're spotty enough on details that their work almost resembles a Cargo Cult.
      • The Cargo Cult aspect also rears its head in a certain criminal hideout, where an unmistakable shrine to Abraham Lincoln can be found in the basement.
    • Game Mod: Ranging from the obligatory NSFW mods to things like a Mininuke Minigun.
    • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted.
    • Gameplay and Story Integration: Willow, the Ghoul sentry outside Underworld, mentions how the Ghouls and Super Mutants leave the other alone. She will not fight any Super Mutants that come by her. The only exception to this is if a Super Mutant accidentally hits her. Even then, she will only kill the one that hit her and stop afterwards.
    • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Some followers who would ordinarily be unwelcome in areas go totally unnoticed when they're with you. All bets are off if you dismiss them while in that area, however, which can lead to some amusing scenarios (e.g. dismissing Star Paladin Cross in the middle of the Outcast base will lead to the Outcasts attacking Cross and her pretty much massacring the entire base solo).
    • Gang of Bullies: Butch and the Tunnel Snakes of Vault 101, based on the "greasers" of the 1950s.
      • Most of the factions in the game, such as the Raiders and the Supermutants, skip straight from this to Villain by Default.
    • Gatling Good: Miniguns and Gatling Lasers make a return here. Though extremely powerful, they have even stronger unique versions if you really need to dish out the hurt.
    • Genius Bruiser: Fawkes.
    • Giant Enemy Crab: Mirelurks.
    • Giant Mook: Super Mutant Behemoths.
    • Giant Robot: Liberty Prime.
    • Give Him a Normal Life: Dad expected you to stay in the vault and live a (relatively) normal, safe, and happy life after he leaves for the Capital Wasteland. Too bad him leaving the vault is what prevents that from ever happening.
    • Gladiator Subquest: The Hole in The Pitt DLC. Which, oddly enough, is part of the add-on's main questline.
    • Gorn/Ludicrous Gibs: The Bloody Mess perk, which gives a high chance of any enemy the player kills to gib ludicrously regardless of how they die.
      • Laser weapons can reduce the subject to a pile of ash if they kill on a Critical Hit. Plasma weapons reduce the target to green goo.
    • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Gratuitous Chinese in this case. The cover of the stealth skill book, the Chinese Army Spec Ops Training Manual, and the bottom of the Chinese Pistol have Chinese writing. The Chinese Remnants and the randomly located Chinese Radio Beacon signal speak Chinese. Somewhat unsurprising given the game setting's Great War between China and the United States.
      • The writing on the Brass Lantern in Megaton and how the Yao Guai got their name, on the other hand, are harder to explain.
      • In Mandarin, yāo guài translates as "monster" or "demon". In Chinese mythology, "yao guai" are usually physical manifestations of the spirits of mistreated animals, or fallen divine animals.
    • Grenade Tag: Reverse pickpocketing grenades. There's even an achievement for it.
    • Grey and Gray Morality: The central theme in The Pitt DLC: you're faced with a real kicker of a choice. You can aid the slave rebellion, which wants to destroy the raider army oppressing them (who really are evil jerks) and kidnap the boss' baby daughter so they can try to create a cure for a massively degenerative disease from her. However, the raider army's the only thing bringing food into the Pitt other than the meat of 'Trogs', the degenerated semi-humans created by the disease, and they have no scientific or medical knowledge and won't treat that baby well. Or you can side with the genuinely good intentioned Lord Ashur, who leads the slaves and raiders so that he can create an industrial powerhouse that'll be free of disease so he can conquer the surrounding area to provide food, shelter and medicine for everyone. Complicating the matter is that the future of The Pitt's people isn't examined, and the player's actions to aid either side could lead to the city prospering or perishing either way through circumstances not explored.
    • Grimy Water: Dirty, irradiated water is the norm rather than the exception.
    • Guilt Based Gaming: Tell Clover to get lost. She (almost) starts to cry and asks, "But... but what did I do?".

    Tropes H-K

    • Happy Fun Ball: The Giddyup Buttercup machines in Mothership Zeta.
    • Have You Tried Rebooting: The computer used to reach Vault 87 appears to be non-functional. To proceed, you have to ask one of the children why it doesn't work (that child turned it off), and ask him to head to the terminal to turn it back on.
    • Herr Doktor: A Morally Ambiguous one named Braun, no less...
    • Historical Villain Upgrade: General Jingwei from the Anchorage simulation is arguably an in-universe example. First thing you see him do is execute an American POW in cold blood; also he's one of the strongest human NPCs.
    • Holding Out for a Hero: Quite a few sidequests involve NPCs who appear to be patiently waiting for some to show up and solve their problems. In the less obvious cases, they're implied to have been at a stalemate for a long time, and getting an external agent to intervene is the only way to feasibly break it (e.g. Arefu).
    • Hollywood Density: In The Pitt expansion, you are sent on a quest to collect 100 steel ingots. If you collect them all in one go, then they stack and only weigh as much as the first ingot, but if you collect some, turn them in and then go back, then they still stack but their weight quickly adds up, so both playing the trope straight and averting it at the same time.
    • Hollywood Night: The night in Fallout is always about as bright as a clear, moonlit night.
      • Either that, or everything in the D.C. area is faintly luminous these days (check the name of the game again).
    • Homemade Inventions: All the custom weapons. Note that unless you take a certain perk post-Broken Steel, you yourself can't come up with them, you have to find the schematics first.
    • Hope Sprouts Eternal: One interpretation, and quest completion option, of the Oasis.
    • Hot Dad: In-Universe, James is apparently considered this by several characters.
    • Hulk Speak/You No Take Candle: The super-mutants talk in mono-syllabic grunt-like speech. Subverted with Fawkes, who retained his intelligence and as such, although he speaks in the same style as the other super-mutants, is a lot more articulate.
    • Human Resources: The Little Lamplight caverns produce a kind of edible fungus which scrubs rads and cures health, and is thus enthusiastically gobbled up by the kiddies. Sounds too good to be true? It's best fertilized by human flesh.
    • Humongous Mecha: Liberty Prime. It is also a bit of a Deconstruction, in that it takes a lot of power to operate. Reconstructed at the end, in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Hurricane of Puns: Some weapon names, such as Man Opener, Jack (a unique Ripper), Rock-it Launcher, Board of Education, etc.
    • Idiot Ball: Surely the Overseer realizes the lack of genetic stock in the Vault means that every person he has murdered on a whim brings the Vault one step closer to eventually dying out due to inbreeding?
      • This is actually one of the arguments you can use to convince him to step down as Overseer. His reaction suggests that he was aware of the problem but chose to downplay its significance because it conflicted with his ideology.
      • By the time you have the option to use the FEV Virus to wipe out all mutated life in the Wasteland, you can't have missed the fact that this will also mean that you will be poisoned as well. You were born in the Wasteland.
        • Although you will find people on forums complaining about their mysterious deaths, apparently having failed to follow the plot at all.
    • If You Know What I Mean: Knickknack salesman Crazy Wolfgang is delighted to know that you take such an interest in his junk. Of course, no one could possibly be more invested in his junk than him, but he appreciates the enthusiasm anyway.
    • I'm a Humanitarian: Strange Meat is PEOPLE!. The Town of Andale is full of cannibals.
      • One of the available perks can make you a humanitarian, too.
    • Improbable Power Discrepancy: The Tribals and Swampfolk in Point Lookout, who are nearly naked and equipped with 19th century rifles and woodcutting axes, are significantly tougher and more dangerous than the Powered Armor wearing Elite Mooks of the Enclave (or even the energy-shield-equipped alien soldiers in Mothership Zeta).
      • Their swampfolk kin, as well. Swampfolk are also immune to pickpocketing, being classed as Super-Mutants by the game.
      • Clover, to a lesser extent.
      • The Lone Wanderer, a nineteen-year-old more or less fresh out of a Vault, will be murdering literally hundreds of heavily-armed soldiers and mutants in short order. Compare what happens if you leave Butch DeLoria to fend for himself against, say, a group of Talon Company mercs.
    • Improvised Armour: Most of the Raiders. You can't make your own at a Workbench—you can make a nuclear hand grenade, but not a Bucket Helmet.
      • The Armored Vault 101 suit, a regular jumpsuit that's been modified with leather armor to offer more protection.
    • Improvised Weapon: You can come across schematics for some fairly powerful weapons built of some semi-common wasteland components; such as a gun that fires railroad spikes (ouch), a dart gun firing toxic radscorpion ammo (which cripples the legs of anything it hits), a gun that can literally fire anything, a mine made out of a lunchbox and cash which causes more damage than standard antipersonnel mines, a flaming sword, and my favorite, a soda-and-cleaning-supply nuclear hand grenade. Possibly the best example is the Rock-It Launcher, as on top of being crafted from scrap in its own right, it's also able to use any piece of random Vendor Trash as ammunition.
      • Many of the melee weapons weren't meant for cracking skulls. Initially.
    • Indestructible Edible: All the Pre-War junk food is still nourishing, if slightly radioactive. Possibly justified by the fact that irradiating food does make it last longer.
    • Infinity-1 Sword: Several. Deathclaw Gauntlet, generic Chinese assault rifles, Ol' Painless, Lincoln's Repeater, double-barrel shotguns, A3-21's Plasma Rifle, Wazer Wifle, Gauss rifle, Tesla Cannon, gatling lasers, dart guns.
    • Infinity+1 Sword: Plenty! Shishkebab, Jack, Xuanlong Assault Rifle, Perforator, Backwater Rifle, the Terrible Shotgun, Alien Blaster, Firelance, Metal Blaster, Atomic Pulverizer, MPLX Novasurge, Destabilizer, Vengeance, Slo-Burn Flamer, Experimental MIRV, Nuka Grenades.
    • Intentional Engrish for Funny: In Operation: Anchorage, you may come across Chinese computers. Your Pip-Boy will attempt to translate the text on their screens into English, but does a poor job of it. The terminal in Mama Dolce's is also this, but already in Engrish.
    • Irony:
      • James just wanted you, his only son/daughter, to live a quiet, safe, and peaceful existence on your own while he snuck out of the vault into the wasteland in pursuit of his of shattered dreams. Too bad that the very act him leaving is what forced you out of the vault and into danger anyways.
      • Liberty Prime, built to protect America from the Communist Chinese threat, destroys the last corrupt remnants of the American government.
      • The Brotherhood of Steel's original mission in the Capital Wasteland was to recover lost technology and the Outcasts left because Elder Lyons made the decision that helping the local Wastelanders was more important than their original goal. By the end of the game (especially with the add-ons) the Brotherhood of Steel has made entirely new weapon systems, reactivated a super robot from the Pre-War period that single handily curb stomped the Enclave, and have recovered so much of the Enclave's advanced technology that they are practically swimming in it. No good deed goes unrewarded, eh?
    • Item Crafting: With a workbench, some schematics, and delightfully random junk, you can create some of the most powerful (and coolest) weapons in the game with no fuss.
    • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: You can threaten the vault overseer if he doesn't give the key to the secret passage to the surface. Since he doesn't want Amata harmed...
    • Japanese Ranguage: The People's Republic of America radio broadcast.
    • Joke Item: Some of the weapons you find are totally useless, such as BB gun and pool cue which you are better off using your fists.
    • Katanas Are Just Better: The katana in the game is well above average.
    • Kill Sat: The Enclave use one in Broken Steel to destroy Liberty Prime. You can also use it at the end of Broken Steel to either destroy the Enclave's mobile base, or to blow up the Citadel. Doing the latter, however, earns you a What the Hell, Hero? response.

    Tropes L-O

    • Large Ham: An amusing one in the Rivet City hotel if you successfully lockpick the owner's door.

    Mr. Buckingham: YOU HAVE INSULTED MY HONOR AND FOR... THAT YOU MUST DIE! *flamethrower*

    • Large Ham Radio: Three Dog.
    • Lethal Joke Item: The Dart Gun doesn't seem very powerful (low damage, moderate poison effect), but note the additional effect: "Damage left/right leg (-1000 points)". That's right, it instantly cripples any organic enemy, transforming Ghouls, Yao Guai, Deathclaws, Mirelurks and even Super Mutant Behemoths into limping target practice. Oh, and it's a totally silent, zero spread weapon that does more overall damage than the Silenced 10mm Pistol... you can quietly headshot half of Evergreen Mills with a high enough Small Guns skill.
    • Level Scaling: The level of the enemies in an area are based on your level when you enter it for the first time. This means, if you enter an area at level one, you'll deal with level one type foes, even if you re-enter after reaching level 30.
      • It is possible to encounter enemies that you normally wouldn't see until later in the game. For example, if you get your karma high enough early on (like, say, by defusing the bomb in Megaton) and then head out to do some exploring, you might meet your first Talon Company hit squad while you're still wearing a Vault 101 jumpsuit and carrying a measly 10mm pistol. And gods help you if you wander too close to Old Olney without being at a high level and carrying a lot of firepower.
        • When you reload an area (even if it means the game reloading your last save if you die), the game may spawn one of a few different random encounter options, including a Mexican Standoff between wastelanders over some pure water, and a Deathclaw (which may or may not be crippled) in the immediate nearby area. The good news is if you do find a Deathclaw while on your travels to Minefield or Arefu, killing it will give you access to a weapon that you will probably never give up for the rest of the game.
    • Little Green Men: You can find the corpse of one. In the Mothership Zeta expansion pack, you find out it wasn't alone.
    • The Load: Almost anyone you have to escort as part of a quest. On the other hand, you can give them your armor and weapons which makes them slightly less useless. Slightly.
    • Logic Bomb: With high enough science skill, you can do this to get President Eden to self destruct.
    • Lost Forever: Actually quite a few places cannot be revisited. This includes Raven Rock, the Mobile Base Crawler in Broken Steel, and a lot of areas on the alien ship in Mothership Zeta. Vault 101 is a slight case, you do revisit it but only once, and once you complete the quest in there you can't come back.
    • Lotus Eater Machine: Vault 112 and Tranquility Lane.
    • Master Computer: President John Henry Eden, a.k.a. a ZAX supercomputer that has become sentient.
    • Meaningful Name:
      • Mr. Burke doesn't just sound like "berk", he's also named after a famous Victorian grave robber. Even that doesn't hint at quite how evil he is.
      • Mr. Crowley and his Arch Enemy Allister Tenpenny are named after Aleister Crowley, an occultist and coiner of the term Magick.
      • President John Henry Eden. Named after both the folk hero John Henry and his ultimate goal in recreating paradise.
    • Mecha-Mooks: Protectrons, sentry bots.
    • Mega Corp: The Capital Wasteland houses the former headquarters of a corporation that is guarded by robotic sentries with shoot to kill orders, ran trial tests that resulted in several deaths, and is more concerned with stock loss than the death or dismemberment of its employees. No, they are not a military contractor or a pharmaceutical company. They make soft drinks.
    • Mercy Kill: The "good" way to end the Tranquility Lane simulation is to kill everyone inside it, sparing them from their torturer, while leaving the torturer trapped there forever.
    • A Million Is a Statistic: In The Pitt DLC, kidnapping Ashur's daughter vs. leaving the anonymous Pitt Slaves to their fate are considered roughly equal in terms of moral weight. Though to be fair, no one said that the aftereffects would be good after said Rebellion. Wernher might just be a power hungry former lieutenant of Ashur, so who knows if there's anything DIFFERENT if he's in charge. And if YOUR in charge, what they gonna do after you go leave?
    • Mind Screw: Vault 106, full stop.
    • Mistaken for Gay: In Moriarty's Saloon, if a male character talks to a male Megaton resident, sometimes they'll say "This isn't that kind of bar."
    • Money for Nothing: Fairly quickly, you'll find yourself swimming in caps with nothing to spend them on. The things you'd want to spend money on can be found easily by looting enemies and checking every container you see, and what you don't keep can be sold. The best weapons and armor are naturally quest rewards, and once you have them other equipment is only useful for repairs, and if you don't need to repair anything they're Vendor Trash. There's also numerous unmarked quests that reward you substantial amounts of caps for bringing someone certain types of item, and can be repeated indefinitely. Just keep in mind which junk items to hoard (Sugar Bombs, Blood Packs, etc) and where to trade them in.
      • Rare ammo for guns like the magnum and sniper rifle are the exception. You will have more than enough caps to buy a few hundred bullets for them, but no one has that much to sell.
      • Most irritatingly, merchant inventories are dictated by player level. Meaning that a level 6 Lone Wanderer with 15000 caps will find that no one is willing to sell him a Chinese Assault Rifle until he gains a few levels.
    • Motor Mouth: Zip, the Nuka-Cola addict in Little Lamplight.
    • Mouthy Kid: Some of the children in Little Lamplight.
    • Mundane Utility: After completing Mothership Zeta, you've got an entire alien spacecraft at your disposal with unimaginable technology inside, and are probably carrying on your person alien firearms, chemicals and other gizmos that could offer huge technological breakthroughs in the hands of someone who could study their workings, like say, the Brotherhood of Steel or Rivet City. Nope, those firearms are actually inferior to our earth weapons and are just Vendor Trash, while the chemical agents are worth pennies and are best kept in your backpack for healing and repairs to your weapon.
    • Murder, Inc.: Talon Company will kill anyone for the right price.
    • Musical Theme Naming: Interestingly, even many of the original songs on the soundtrack are named after hit tunes by The Ink Spots, such as "Whispering Grass" and "When the Swallows Return" ("When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano").
    • Mysterious Protector: The Mysterious Stranger, a trenchcoat-and-fedora-clad man who shows up in VATS occasionally to kill a target for you.
    • Mythology Gag: One of the random passwords that occurs in the hacking minigame is Cochise, the name of the Master Computer Big Bad from Wasteland, the spiritual precursor of Fallout. Also, in Wasteland, one of your dialogue options while speaking with Cochise was to ask it how you could kill it. You can ask the exact same question of this game's Master Computer Big Bad, President Eden. Both of them respond by telling you that they're far beyond your ability to inflict physical damage.
    • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Deathclaw"? Hey, that sounds cuddly...
    • Negate Your Own Sacrifice:
      • Averted in the original game, to the anger of the fans: none of your radiation-immune teammates can be made to do the final task for you. That was fixed in the expansion pack, but they still call you a coward for not doing it yourself. Pragmatism is dead in the wasteland.
      • If you ask Sarah to make the sacrifice, she snaps "what happened to chivalry?" Er, chivalry, as in the idea that a Knight in Shining Armour is meant to protect others? Her snappy attitude probably comes from the dialogue option asking her to make the sacrifice instead of yourself being incredibly rude, and to her credit she does ultimately do it.
    • Nerfed:
      • Colonel Autumn's unique laser pistol was originally full-auto, allowing it to fire as fast as a Gatling Laser and making it almost as powerful.
      • Enclave soldiers in general, compared to their Fallout 2 counterparts, mostly as a result of how vastly different the combat engines in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 are.
    • Nicknaming the Enemy: Ghouls refer to humans as "Smoothskins". However, it's not clear whether this is necessarily a slur, as even friendly, sympathetic Ghouls refer to humans as this, sometimes even to their faces. On the other hand, when humans refer to Ghouls as "Zombies", it's definitely intended to be derogatory.
    • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
      • If you've reached Good karma, the Talon Company Mercs will go after your head, calling you a "holier-than-thou white-knight". It matters little for some people though, since it also means more things to kill. That turns into more XP, ammo, armor and weapons, as well as more things to shoot at.
      • If you've reached Evil karma, you get the same but with a different set of people after you, namely the Regulators. But again, more people to blow away.
      • If you've managed to reach both Evil karma and Good karma at least once, you get both after you giving you even more people to kill. If both groups are near, you can also potentially set them to kill themselves since they're hostile to the other group. Never leaving Neutral karma will avoid the hit squads.
    • No One Could Survive That: Colonel Autumn, you, and Sentinel Lyons. Autumn clearly injects himself with some sort of Applied Phlebotinum before being hit with the radiation wave, while Lyons was outside the control room and therefore took a less powerful blast. You, on the other hand, have no such explanation for your survival. However, you do ultimately survive even if you go into the room, which kills Lyons, so maybe the Lone Wanderer is just that much more durable to this situation.
    • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The Cure in The Pitt expansion. Justified - it's a baby.
    • Obvious Beta: Getting stuck in the scenery in the Wasteland, constant crashing, missing textures, an innumerable number of bugs that cause the game to hang (including the giant Badass anti-communist robot refusing to move, which always seems to happen once every playthrough), Radscorpions and Brahmin spawning stuck in the ground half the time, the Play Station 3 version locking up if one of your friends signed into PSN (patched, thankfully), framerate and control lag that randomly appears to the point where you have to reset on the console versions, all the Operation: Anchorage equipment being glitched somehow, The Pitt being completely unplayable at launch, Broken Steel making your companions invincible and have Three Dog spoil the entire game even if you just left the Vault... Seriously, it can get really bad at times. Thankfully, there are plenty of unofficial patches that clean things up a bit... unless of course you have the console version, in which case, you're completely screwed, because the official patches barely fixed a thing. At least this one has a higher ratio of Good Bad Bugs compared to New Vegas, although it's really no less buggy overall.
    • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In Broken Steel, when you wake up two weeks have passed since the end of the game. Apparently, while you were under the Brotherhood was systematically tracking down the Enclave remnants with help from Liberty Prime.
    • One-Time Dungeon: Completionists would be advised to grab the collectible Energy Weapons bobblehead during the brief Raven Rock sequence... Since once the door shuts behind you, you're never getting back in there.
      • Several areas in Mothership Zeta can only be explored once, particularly frustrating since there's an achievement for finding alien captive logs in those areas, and they're quite easy to miss.
    • Only One Female Mold: Even the old wrinkle faced women have young shaped bodies.
    • Our Vampires Are Different: The Family, a small gang that harasses the small town of Arefu; they drink blood in place of eating flesh, avoid sunlight, and (despite their dislike of the term) will identify themselves as vampires. But they lack any of the traditional powers and other nuances. Their leader even lampshades this in certain dialog options.

    Tropes P-S

    • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Especially in the DLC. It is possible to use stealth or cover, but the game's economy makes stimpak spamming a much easier tactic.
    • Pay Evil Unto Evil: You do not get karma penalties if you do 'evil' things to evil people (including stealing from them or chopping their heads off in broad daylight).
      • The Power Of The Atom is a prime example, if you seduced Burke with a female character who has Black Widow perk. Remember kids; If a man is evil, it's completely okay to seduce him, then break his heart and drive him into depression and suicide by not responding to his adoring, border-obsessive love.
      • Averted when it comes to enslaving enemies. Even putting a slave collar on the most evil village burning raider or cruel Talon mercenary gets you a lot of bad karma point, while blowing up their heads leaves your karma meter unblemished. Apparently Even Evil Has Standards.
    • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Stepping on a skeleton causes the same rumble feedback as a bear trap or tripwire. It doesn't do any damage, it's just there to make you jump.
    • Perky Goth: Bittercup, much to the annoyance of the other denizens of Big Town (mostly because she would rather look for makeup components than keep an eye out for Super Mutants, etc).
    • Phlebotinum Battery: You can get a perk called "Solar Powered" which gives you massive stat bonuses in the daylight.
    • The Plot Reaper: Liberty Prime takes a nuke to the face in the first mission of the Broken Steel expansion to the main quest. Otherwise, you'd be wondering why he couldn't just curb-stomp the entire Wasteland for you.
    • Point and Click Map
    • Pokémon-Speak: The inhabitants of Vault 108: "Gary!"
      • Bingo in The Pitt.
    • The Pollyanna: Moira Brown, who takes everything from her bleak surroundings to her catastrophically failed experiments to her own ghoulification with the same sunny enthusiasm. Breaking her spirit by persuading her to give up her Guide project is treated as a special kind of evil.
    • Powered Armor: Standard issue for the Brotherhood of steel and the Enclave
    • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Done by many NPC and followers.

    Talon Company Merc: I want this one's head on a fucking platter!
    Super Mutant: I'll wear your bones around my NECK, human!
    Sergeant RL-3: Do that again and I'll put my boot so far up your ass you'll cough up boot polish!

    • Punch Clock Villain: Every Vault-Tec Overseer. Well, except Braun. There is no "Punch Clock" involved with him.
      • The Vault 101 Security guards you have to gun down during "Escape!" (unless you let them be killed by Radroaches). Even the game considers them this during this quest, changing their karma level to Evil so you won't be penalised for killing them in self-defense.
    • Puny Earthlings:
      • Subverted with Mothership Zeta: while the aliens possess powerful guns, without energy shields, they are just as frail (if not moreso) as any given human. A sextet of humans (the Player, a Samurai wearing vintage armor and a katana, a Cowboy wearing ordinary clothing and carrying a revolver, an Anchorage Combat Medic, another Wastelander and a little girl) are capable of completely wrecking an entire shipful of spacemen.
      • Abominations play this somewhat straight, as they are definitely a threat if they close in, but their lack of shielding puts them at a disadvantage if you spot them beforehand and open fire.
      • Super Mutants will sometimes say things in this vein while attacking you.
    • Put on a Bus: Doctor Li in Broken Steel. Characters state that she was tired of the conflict in the Capital Wasteland and decided to take a trip to the Commonwealth. Some of the pre-Broken Steel dialogue implies that she was in love with your dad, and his death and your near-death pretty much destroyed her emotionally.
    • Putting on the Reich: The Enclave Officers.
    • Quintessential British Gentleman: The Mr Handy robots.
    • The Quisling: Anna Holt. And it's still wrong to kill her.
    • Railing Kill: Happens quite often if your target is on catwalk or the like. But most notably Colonel Autumn if you shoot him where he stands.
    • Rare Candy: The Vault-Tec Bobbleheads, and to a lesser extent, skillbooks. Also the Here and Now perk.
    • Real Is Brown: Or gray, if you're in D.C. Justified since the region was nuked to within an inch of its life.
    • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Most of your allies in Mothership Zeta.
    • The Remnant: The East Coast Enclave is all that's left of the Enclave, which was destroyed by the Fallout 2 player character. Then in Broken Steel, you fight the remnant of that remnant.
      • Also the Chinese Remnants, ghoulified pre-War espionage agents hiding out in a factory in D.C.
    • Restraining Bolt: Every robot has one of these on its back that doubles as a Morality Chip: it's the only thing stopping that jovial Mr. Handy (or any other robot) from going on a blood-soaked rampage.
    • Retired Badass:
      • Herbert 'Daring' Dashwood, old adventurer and one of the nicest guys in the capital wasteland.
      • James, the Lone Wanderer's father. This is a man who 19 years previously, left the safety of Rivet City and set off across the Capital Wasteland to Vault 101, with his newborn child in tow.
    • Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted with the .32 pistol, a revolver that is actually one of the weakest guns in the game. The Scoped .44 Magnum on the other hand is among the best of the available pistols.
    • Roar Before Beating: Feral ghouls and Zeta's alien abominations. This is not a free action—they tend to get shot up doing it.
    • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: All of Mothership Zeta. NOBODY abducts and anal-probes the Lone Wanderer and gets away with it.
    • Robo Speak: Most robots, smarter ones use Spock Speak instead.
    • Rube Goldberg Device: There's one hidden in the Gold Ribbon Grocer's. After deliberately stepping on a pressure plate the chain reaction leads to useful tools and ammo falls from the ceiling.
    • Rule of Cool: The entire game basically runs on Rule of Cool.
    • Rule of Drama: The original ending forces the player to make a heroic sacrifice. Even though logically speaking, several of your potential companions could easily perform the action for you and be unharmed. But the companions will refuse to help, with their reasoning being essentially "It's simply more dramatic if you do it."
    • Scary Scorpions: Radscorpions, who have no weak point. The Giant and Albino versions even more so.
    • Scavenger World: With a fair amount of SurvivalistStashes.
    • Scenery Gorn: The view of downtown D.C. from the top of the Washington Monument is equal parts breathtaking and horrifying.
    • Scenery Porn: Oasis. Also, various places such as downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington Cemetery, the northwestern area of the map... pretty much anything that isn't in the central, southwestern or northeastern portions of the world map.

    Three Dog: Have any of you kiddies ever seen... a tree? [...] Somewhere out in the Wasteland is a place with lots of trees, a veritable oasis of green in a depressing sea of brown...

    • Second-Hour Superpower: The Pip Boy 3000 and the V.A.T.S targeting system is given to you during your 10th Birthday Party.
    • Sequel Hook: Picking up on a mention from Tactics, both this game and New Vegas imply there's another faction of the Brotherhood of Steel operating in Chicago, and it's also hinted that super mutants have been sighted and the Enclave is suspected to have another base nearby.
    • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Doc Lesko when he talks about his ant research.
    • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: All the guns in the game have an Arbitrary Maximum Range, but it can be especially noticeable with the sniper rifle. Sniper-type players are known to fail to make long-distance shots that would have been possible in some other games, never mind Real Life. The bullet simply disappears before it reaches its target.
    • Shout-Out: Way too many to list here, but the Mad Max films are referenced most prominently. A full list can be found here.
      • In the Georgetown townhouse, there is a robot that says a very familiar poem for those who have read Ray Bradbury (actually that whole house is a reference to that short story).
      • The Mysterious Stranger carries a .44 Magnum. The Mark Twain story The Mysterious Stranger has an alt title: No. 44.
      • The Dunwich building is named after The Dunwich Horror by H.P. Lovecraft and has a suitably Lovecraftian atmosphere. The good karma ending to a quest given on Point Lookout involves taking a Necronomicon Expy there to be destroyed.
      • Tenpenny Tower is possibly a shoutout to Land of the Dead, where a corrupt leader has an elitist refuge against the outside world under threat by zombies.
      • In the game's opening, one of the images shown is the head of a statue, lying amongst a pile of rubble. This could be reminiscent of the poem "Ozymandias", as is the general theme of the entire game.
      • You find a highly-intelligent Super Mutant named Fawkes in Isolation Cell 5 of a vault that was a secret government installation testing the use of gene and germ therapy on unwilling subjects. Sound familiar?
    • Sickening Crunch: When you take fall damage.
    • Sinister Subway: Every wrecked metro system in the Capital Wasteland is either crawling with mutants or raiders. And given that they're dark and dank with at least a few systems flooded with radiation in either form as well as the occasional laid trap...
    • Slave Mooks: Crimson and Clover.
    • Sniper Pistol: The Scoped .44 Magnum, one of the best standard pistols in the game.
    • Songs in the Key of Lock: Tranquility Lane has a hidden computer interface that allows you to shut it down; accessing it requires a musical code based on the Leitmotif you can hear on the soundtrack and which Betty occasionally whistles to herself.
    • Sophisticated As Hell: Desmond from the Point Lookout add-on is quite eloquent. He's also a walking Cluster F-Bomb.
    • Soundtrack Dissonance: The radio on your Pipboy is Soundtrack Dissonance on demand. With it, you have the choice of listening to either uplifting golden oldies music from the 50s, patriotic American army music, or even violin sonatas while going around and killing random mutants and animals.
      • Tranquility Lane takes it Up to Eleven with it's constant usage of an uplifting theme while you're busy committing murder. For bonus points, that happy little jingle is the musical key to triggering the simulation's failsafe.
    • Speech Impediment: Biwwy of Widdle Wampwi- er, Little Lamplight. If you feel like being a jerk to a little kid, you can tell him to stop talking like that, but he will say he doesn't know what you are talking about. He'll trade you his Wazer Wifle (the item is actually named this in the game interface) for caps, or give it to you for free if you have the Child At Heart perk.
    • Spiritual Successor: To Bethesda's run on the Terminator games from the 1980s to 1990s. Ironically, the Broken Steel add-on for this game would be released within the same month as Terminator Salvation and its video game tie-in.
    • Spock Speak: Mr Handy and Mr Gutsy robots, each have English butler and Drill Sergeant Nasty voice respectively. Also, the Prototype Medic Armor.
    • Stealth Pun: James is shown to have an affinity for scotch throughout the game. Scotch, a type of whiskey, gets its name from the Gaelic 'usquebaugh', which translates into modern English as... wait for it... "water of life".
    • Stopped Clock: Every single clock you see is stopped at the exact time the Chinese attack occurred (9:48). None are the purely mechanical, wind-up types that might have continued.
    • Stripperiffic: The worn slave wear from The Pitt and some of the Raider wardrobes. Also, the Sexy Sleepwear and the Naughty Nightwear.
    • Stronger with Age: The East Coast super mutants function this way, going all the way up to the Super Mutant Behemoth.
    • Subliminal Seduction: The true purpose of Vault 92 was to brainwash its residents—all musicians—through white noise seeded through the speaker system and recording equipment, with the purpose to make them ultra-loyal super-soldiers upon receiving a simple command phrase. Naturally, things went horribly horribly wrong.
    • Suicidal Overconfidence: Your being in a huge powered armor and toting a gun bigger than you won't stop leather-armored raiders from taunting you and firing their peashooters at you.
    • Sunglasses at Night: There is no penalty in doing so: You get a Perception bonus, even at night.
    • Sure, Let's Go with That: Since you meet a lot of brain-fried, deluded, misguided or outright crazy people wandering the Wasteland, your dialogue options often have at least one which enables you to politely humour them in order to progress to the next part of the conversation. Naturally, you also have the option to bluntly and rudely tell them that they're nuts.
    • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Pinkerton is a myth. He is certainly NOT in the broken bow of Rivet City. He left a long time ago, dammit!

    Tropes T-W

    • Teenage Wasteland: Big Town which is made up of people who grew too old to live in Little Lamplight. Little Lamplight itself is a child version of this and only allows children. Anyone who turns 16 is forced to trek over to Big Town, such as Sticky (the youngest person you can personally kill in the game).
    • There Are No Adults: Little Lamplight.
    • They Call Me Mister Tibbs:
      • Usually a bad sign: if their Names to Run Away From Really Fast didn't give you a clue, their lack of a first name should make you immediately suspicious of Mister Burke and Mister Crowley.
      • The hovering robots are called Mister Handy if they have service roles and Mister Gutsy if they're used for combat.
    • This Is No Time for Knitting: In The Adventures of Herbert 'Daring' Dashwood, the following exchange occurs:

    Penelope Chase: Why is your Ghoul friend picking their pockets? This is no time for sticky fingers, Daring!
    Herbert 'Daring' Dashwood: It's not what he's taking out, my dear, but rather what he's putting in! DUCK AND COVER!

    • Throwaway Country: In Mothership Zeta, you can use the Death Ray to zap part of Canada.
    • Too Awesome to Use: Some may have difficulty using weapons that have rare ammo or cannot be repaired except by merchants. In the case of weapons like the Alien Blaster, it has both a finite ammo limit AND it is unique and cannot be repaired by the player.
    • Too Dumb to Live:
      • The Vault 101 Overseer, who decides that after repeatedly attempting to murder the Lone Wanderer, something that has obviously failed, the best idea to deal with them is to taunt and be sarcastic. Particularly egregious when the Lone Wanderer returns to Vault 101, now most likely clad in power armour and having taken several levels in badass, the Overseer still doesn't understand that this may not bode well for his continued plans on having his head remain connected to his body anytime soon.
      • The Ninth Circle's proprietor Ahzrukhal. He knows that Charon really hates his guts and is only held in check by a contract. Ahzrukhal will still let the Lone Wanderer buy the contract off him.
      • To a lesser extent, feral ghouls, since they always announce they've detected the player with a distinctive screech that lasts about three seconds, giving an attentive marksman plenty of time to line up a shot.
    • Tortured Abomination: Harold.
    • Town with a Dark Secret: Andale.
    • Trauma Inn: ANY bed will heal you, but owned or rented ones give you an XP-generation bonus for a short time afterwards.
    • Try Not to Die: One of Moira Brown's cheerful ways of saying goodbye whenever you end a conversation with her. Also, Everett in The Pitt.
    • Universal Ammunition: Semi-realistically averted. If a weapon is the same caliber as a given round, it can fire it (e.g. .32 rounds work in both the .32 revolver and the hunting rifle). This is not quite how it works in Real Life, but it's better than many games do at it.
    • Unreliable Narrator: The Narrator says that Vault 101's door never opened, and that you were born there. The game's plot proves both false.
    • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In full force. Nobody comments that you're decked out in power armor or that you have an eight-foot-tall, bright yellow walking tank with you. But for once, the tank (Fawkes) has the decency to Lampshade it:

    Fawkes: I'm amazed that people trust you enough not to attack me.

    • Updated Rerelease: The Game of the Year edition, which has downloadable content from the original version in the package.
    • Utopia Justifies the Means: John Henry Eden wants to kill off every mutated human (read: 95% of the population) in the Capital Wasteland as he believes it is the only way to save it. Also, in The Pitt DLC, the leader of the slave-driving Raiders in the ruins of Pittsburgh was trying to resurrect Pittsburgh as a functioning, producing city, with the intention of ending the slave labor once a cure for the mutations plaguing the city's workers could be developed.
    • Vasquez Always Dies: Well, you can kill them anyway, but none of the obvious action girls die plotline deaths. Not even the most blatant Vasquez, Brick from Reilly's Rangers. It's the new recruit that gets killed instead.
    • Video Game Caring Potential: You can play tag and hide-and-seek with a lonely little kid who lives in a mine in Point Lookout.
    • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Stealth Armor. Flaming Sword. Bloody Mess perk. Town full of innocent people. You know what to do. And don't forget to nuke the evidence.
      • From setting Harold on fire, to mezzing Wastelanders into slavery, to backstabbing the Brotherhood of Steel with a Kill Sat, almost every single quest has at least one "unspeakable bastard" option.
      • Dr. Braun gives us an in-universe example, his only source of amusement is cruelly tormenting the other inhabitants of Tranquility Lane.
      • In Rivet City, you can talk a suicidal old man into jumping off the flight deck. Feel proud.
    • Vigilante Man: The Regulators is a whole organization of these guys.
    • Villainous Incest: The Andale residents. You're pretty far gone when generations of inbreeding isn't your dark secret.
    • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The majority of the sidequests and characters you encounter have absolutely no bearing on the central questline of the game, and many (i.e. the superheroes or the Republic of Dave) are stand-alone one-shot jokes. This is in contrast to Fallout: New Vegas, where most of the sidequests and characters had some ties to the central NCR-vs-Legion conflict or were otherwise interconnected with other events and characters elsewhere in the game. As a result, Fallout 3 is more of an episodic TV show, while New Vegas is more of a Myth Arc mini-series.
    • Warp Whistle: Fast-travelling. No explanation is given of how you can effectively teleport, so it's best seen as a "skip to the end of the journey" option—time skips ahead each time you travel, and does so in proportion to the distance you've gone. While you get to avoid all the Random Encounters you might otherwise face, there's a fairly high chance that something will spawn right on top of you the second you arrive at your location.
    • The War Sequence: The finale of Broken Steel pits the Lone Wanderer versus dozens upon dozens of Enclave soldiers. At one part of the mission, you get some appreciated help from a squad of Brotherhood Paladins, but they die quickly and for the most part you're on your own.
    • Wasteland Elder: There are multiple examples. Such as Manya, the oldest person alive in Megaton, who can tell you the history of its foundation, as well as the elderly leaders of the children of the atom. There are also ghouls that still survived since the original bomb drops, one of which says that her interesting story is somewhat boring.
    • Weapon, Jr.: The tutorial has the player learn to shoot with a BB gun on their 10th birthday.
    • We Can Rule Together: Affably Evil President Eden suggests that there may be a place in the Enclave for the Lone Wanderer, perhaps even replacing Colonel Autumn as his dragon, if they agree to help Eden implement his Final Solution. Nothing ever comes of it, though, for two important reasons; 1) even if you don't destroy Eden yourself, in Broken Steel, Liberty Prime will level Raven Rock, either destroying Eden or burying him under a few thousand tons of rubble. 2) Despite being raised in a Vault, the Lone Wanderer is descended from Wastelanders, so Eden's FEV turns out to be fatal to him/her as well.
    • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Vault 101 Overseer. He seems sour and unfriendly most of the time, but if you read his entry in his terminal, he really wished to have the vault residents lead a peaceful life and didn't proceed with Vault experiments.
      • Just about everyone in Canterbury Commons believes The Mechanist is doing more harm than good. While he's sincere about protecting the town, it's agreed that his heavilly-armed robots are doing a lot more damage than the mutated ants.
    • Wham Mission: The Waters of Life. Specifically, the point when its revealed that not only are the Enclave still active despite the events of 2, but they also intend to forcefully take control of Project Purity for their own sinister ends.
    • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A recurring theme. There are multiple quests that ask you to decide whether ghouls/androids/slaves/mutants/people trapped in a Lotus Eater Machine Are People Too (with the Karma Meter almost always falling on the side of "yes they are"); the two most powerful factions on either side of the coin are distinctly human-chauvinist, although the Enclave have an AI for a leader and the Brotherhood employ a high-ranking cyborg. The Enclave plan to use the modified FEV to kill all "meta-humans" with even the slightest degree of mutation.
      • Three Dog often says "Ghouls are people too", which can either be ignored by the player or not, but even he admits that Feral Ghouls are mindless zombies, going so far as to say "So kill as many as you damn well please."
      • The Replicated Man quest is about an android, and both his pursuer and "helper" give reasons on why or why not he's human.
      • Subverted at least once though: Moira is convinced that Mirelurks must have a complex underwater society. They don't.
    • What the Hell, Hero?: Depending on your actions, you can get quite a few of these.
      • Dad gives you one when he finds out you destroyed Megaton.
      • Three Dog will call you out almost any time you take the "evil option" in a given mission.
      • In The Pitt, you can also choose to call it to Wernher when you learn of his complete plan.
      • You get called on this if you kill the Overseer during your escape. And again if you kill the new Overseer in the sidequest "Trouble On The Homefront". If you kill the original Overseer and also the second one, Amata will accept the latter as self-defense, but you'll still get a lot of "what have you done?" from everyone else.
      • In the ending, Sarah Lyons will give you a lot of sass if you insist that she make a Heroic Sacrifice rather than doing so yourself. The narrator will also do so in the ending voice-over, even if you send in one of two possible radiation-immune followers (which is easily the most logical choice).
      • In Broken Steel, if you choose to target the Citadel after reaching the Satellite room in the Mobile Base Crawler, upon landing back at the [now destroyed] Citadel, the Brotherhood of Steel will immediately find out that it was your doing. They will then declare you a traitor in their eyes, and will shoot you on sight.
      • A more subtle one happens if you kill Three Dog, as his DJ segments on GNR are replaced by a very unenthusiastic and bitter technician who talks about how "some asshole killed our DJ."
    • While Rome Burns: Dukov and his two party girls spend every day huddled inside a building doing nothing but drinking, partying, getting high, and having sex. The fact that they are almost completely defenseless and surrounded by super mutants and other monsters is something they choose to simply ignore. It helps that Dukov is a Retired Badass whose reputation as a mercenary was known to even Alistair Tenpenny.
    • Wide Open Sandbox: The player is free to explore anywhere after leaving Vault 101.
    • Wise Beyond Their Years: Most, if not all, of the residents of Little Lamplight.
      • The Lone Wanderer him/herself. The character is nineteen during the Vault 101 escape, and some of the technical things expected of the character (such as disarming a nuclear bomb) would ordinarily not be entrusted to a nineteen-year-old.
    • Worst News Judgement Ever: Three Dog of Galaxy News Radio talks about the player character and only about the player character. There are precisely two news stories in the entire game that aren't directly related to you or your father. This makes sense most of the time, as the player tends to do things that are noticeable enough to be considered newsworthy, but some of the things he reports on are less than noteworthy - he even does a story about you finishing a fetch quest involving collecting soda bottles for a strange woman out in the middle of nowhere. This is lampshaded with "Christ, talk about a slow news day...".
    • Would Hit a Girl: Colonel Autumn makes his character clear when he murders a female scientist in cold blood for no reason the first time you see him.
    • Wrench Wench: Moira Brown. You, if you play as the female version of the Lone Wanderer and spend up enough on Repair skill points.
    • Written by the Winners: A terminal in the Operation: Anchorage DLC mentions that General Chase was constantly changing the Anchorage simulation until it was largely divorced from the reality of what actually happened out there.
    • Wrong Genre Savvy: Both the AntAgonist and The Mechanist believe they are in a superhero comic... you can complete a quest by convincing them that they're not.

    Tropes X-Z

    • X Meets Y: The game has been described as Oblivion with guns. Depending on who you talk to, this is not necessarily a bad thing.
    • You Can't Go Home Again: You are forced to leave Vault 101 and go into the wasteland after your dad escapes. The pissed off Overseer planned on killing you as a scapegoat. The mission "Trouble On The Homefront" allows you to return to the Vault, which has fallen into chaos, and help sort things out. Of course, right after you are told to leave and this time you can't ever return.
    • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If you tell Colonel Autumn the correct code for the purifier, he will thank you and kill you, resulting in a Nonstandard Game Over.
      • Also, in Point Lookout, if you choose to side with Professor Calvert to kill Desmond, he will reward you with "The greatest thing any human could ever hope for", which is to say... DEATH! At least he tries to by activating hostile protectrons in his room, and not all of them are working.
      • Another one in Point Lookout, the quest 'The Velvet Curtain' in which you play as a Chinese spy, after you accomplished the mission and looking at extraction detail, it is then shown that the Chinese intelligence apparently didn't want their agent back, and instead instructed him to take his death honorably and then lock him up in an irradiated room. It is done so crudely that the real agent if he ever completed his mission could have escaped the death trap.
    • You Have Researched Breathing: You can get meat from anything from a dog to a giant bug, but you need the Cannibal perk if you want fresh human meat. However, feral ghouls will occasionally carry around steak-shaped slabs of human.
    • Your Head Asplode:
    • Your Mind Makes It Real: Tranquility Lane and the Anchorage Reclamation Simulation.
    • You Should Know This Already: After installing Broken Steel, there's a glitch where at any time, even if you haven't completed the original questline yet, Three Dog will give his broadcast about the Brotherhood of Steel defeating the Enclave to take control of Project Purity and starting it up. As a result, you could walk out the Vault door, tune your radio to Galaxy News, and hear how the game ends.
    • Zip Mode: Fast travel to major areas.